What to Make with Chicken

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Whether you’re in the midst of a pantry challenge or want to stock up on chicken when it’s on sale, having a repertoire of go-to recipes is essential to making the most of that tender chicken.

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Bone-in chicken breast regularly goes on sale for just under $1 throughout the US. (I say this with confidence, thanks to this informal poll on Facebook.) Boneless, skinless chicken breast and boneless thighs hover right under $2 when on sale, making chicken a good, cheap eat, whether you like dark or white meat, bones or not.

If you find a sale, I recommend buying enough to last you for about six weeks when that sale will come back around again. At our house that means about 6 to 8 packages of chicken. Often I trim and marinate the chicken pieces or precook them and shred the meat to use in quick meals. Sometimes I just toss it into the freezer and deal with it on the day of serving.

Chicken makes for some easy meals. Especially when you’ve got some great recipes to go to for inspiration. 

What do I make with…?

If you’re with me on the Pantry Challenge, you may be wondering how to prepare a certain cut of meat that is lurking in your freezer. We’re going to tackle a different kind of meat (including venison) each week so that you have plenty of inspiration. This week we’re talking chicken — and turkey — since cooked turkey can easily be substituted in place of chicken.

Whether you’re actively challenging your pantry or just looking to stock up on chicken or turkeys on sale, here are some suggestions:

Orchard Chicken Salad

Santa Fe Chicken Tacos

Chicken and Wild Rice Bake

Chicken Parmesan

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

Subscribe to Good Cheap Eats
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. I can’t resist the deal at Costco for 99 cent per pound whole chicken, but would like a variation on cooking them outside of roasting it whole. Need to practice breaking down a whole, raw chicken…

    • Jessica says

      @Jenn Papale, yeah, that would be a good thing to perfect…. especially when Ralphs does the 59 cents/pound thing. I will keep that in mind!

    • Yvette says

      @Jenn Papale, I have started cooking the whole chicken by itself (with a dry rub) in my slow cooker, it makes the chore of taking the chicken apart MUCH easier!

      • Jessica says

        I love to do that, too!

  2. Karen says

    Wow. I nearly have an accident if I see chicken (on sale, then marked down) for less than $2.50/# here, ground beef, mystery sausage, pork is all cheaper. The only meat I have seen all year for .98 was whole frozen turkey as a loss leader right before Christmas. We got three. I’m going to wait a week or two before I thaw another one. We’re still working on individually frozen servings of turkey soup leftover from the holidays, heated up for school and work lunches. I might cut it apart and freeze the breasts after cooking, I could grind some of the leg meat for patties for immediate use, and make stock from the bones etc. I’m just not sure what to do with the rest of the leg meat. Freeze cooked patties to reheat? I have to disguise the dark meat somewhat here. I am really looking forward to putting my stored food together without big shopping trips. This week I picked up a tub of sour cream and a jar of honey. We still have enough milk from late last week for me to make yogurt today, rest of milk should last the week. Everything else is good.

    • Jessica says

      @Karen, you’re in Canada, right? It does sound like grocery shopping is really different there…. from what I’ve heard from friends, anyway.

    • Martine says

      @Karen, Would a turkey pot pie work to hide the dark meat?

      • Jessica says

        Yes, it would. I typically mix it with white meat, too, and then they don’t notice so much.

  3. Thanks for these ideas! I have to be honest I am deathly afraid of chicken breasts! I know I know. I’m feeding a family of 7 and would really love to fix chicken for them 🙂 I’m still trying to be creative in the kitchen and get out of our usual meals rut. The few times I tried breasts they came out so dry we were choking!

    I have one with a dairy and egg allergy so spaghetti and tacos is the usual around here.

    Looking forward to trying the pantry challenge this year. I have so much in the pantry and freezer and I keep adding to it. Your blog has been a life saver 🙂

  4. Jessica – if you’re going to buy bone-in, you gotta make stock with them later! Free broth from garbage is as frugal as you can get, IMO. 😉 Here’s how I do it: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/03/30/monday-mission-how-to-make-your-own-homemade-chicken-stockbroth/
    🙂 Katie

    • Jessica says

      Absolutely. We use (almost) the whole buffalo. I don’t do the liver and giblets thing.

      • STL says

        @Jessica, I just recently decided I was going to TRY to use the giblets and livers too, since I pretty much use every other part. I had to go online to make sure I understood what I was looking at (one of those things is the heart sometimes). I am going to collect them in a bag and figure out how to use them. I’ve read a few ideas.

        • Jessica says

          I think I might consider it if I were able to buy organic chicken. Right now, that is cost prohibitive. Keep us posted on your, um, adventure!

    • Raquel says

      @Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship, I am just about to shoot myself…I never thought of using the bones from a breast for stock and it’s just so stupidly simple of a thought….where’s my gun..:)

      • @Raquel, Yep, I actually only buy bone-in, even when I want boneless – then I hack off the breast meat and throw the bones in a pot for stock PLUS gain a few cups of shredded meat for soups and casseroles. If you don’t have enough bones, just freeze them for later (even if someone has eaten off them since they’ll be boiled so hot and so long anyway..).

        I’ve recently tried making multiple batches of stock from the same bones (success!) and for the first time ever, I don’t run out of stock before I run out of chicken in the freezer.
        🙂 Katie

  5. Jan says

    this is funny, I just ditched my menu plan for dinner at 8am this morning and threw a concoction together using some frozen, cooked and shredded chicken from the freezer … I got myself some yummy White Chili now for dinner (posted the recipe on blog if you want)…not really doing a pantry challenge but really DO need to clear out the freezers (the chicken was from March 2011) … it’s gotta be time for a good sale soon, dontcha think? 🙂

    • Jessica says

      @Jan, way to go on making use of what you have. I’m surprised the chicken wasn’t freezer burnt after all this time. Must be a good deep freeze.

  6. I think your post just gave me a bunch of ideas with the 2 lbs of chicken i have in the freezer. Your chicken parmesan looks great. Maybe I’ll try that with panko breadcrumbs instead.

    • Jessica says

      It would be great with panko!

  7. Shell says

    I love Parmesan chicken. I usually make it by putting Mayonnaise or olive oil on after the skin is removed from the breasts and put rosemary from the garden on top of this and then grate either fresh Parmesan or use jarred , already grated . Whatever is on hand. Cook on 350 for about 40 minutes. This is where a meat thermometer comes in handy when it is hard to judge when it is done. For some reason , people have a tendency to over cook
    chicken. As long as you have the temperature up to 165 and the juices run clear, you don’t have to cook it to death. This dish is so quick, easy and totally delicious . Served with roasted vegetables it looks quite elegant.

Share Your Thoughts